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Friday, 9 August 2013

2013/14 President Says Hello

Hey, everyone. I figured I should do a little 'Hello' spiel to any new faces and to anyone already involved who isn't familiar with me. I'm also going to tie in a little introduction to what the Feminism Society does and how it operates. Please note, anything I'm about to say does not necessarily represent the views of this society or any of its committee or members.

So. My name is Rose and I'm the 2013/14 FemSoc President.  I study English and Classical Studies here at Royal Holloway, and I'm about to re-take my second year. Things I like: cake (you'll learn more about that during any events that require refreshments) photography, peppermint tea, writing, positive attitudes to mental health and gender equality. I also like trying to make a difference in areas of society I feel are problematic (mainly the last two. I don't worry too much about the representation about cake. Although...

So, it was a bit of a no-brainer when I started here to try and get involved with things I thought were important within our SU (that's Student's Union.) I won't go into the inner dealings of GMs (General Meetings) Sabbs (Sabbatical Officers) and heated debates by way of microphone, because I don't want to overload you.

I got involved in second year, because I was too busy thinking I was a super awesome fresher in my first. At the beginning of my second year, I soon realised there were quite a few like-minded people within our union, and I started learning about some really important issues that hadn't really crossed my mind - trans* people's representation, BME representation and LGBT issues. Getting involved with the Feminism Society made me realise that every minorities representation in society interlinks, and it's important for us all to realise that.

For a while, like anything new, I was a little nervous about turning up to FemSoc events as I went by myself, but I can honestly say that now there are at least 6 members who are close friends. And I mean the kind of friends you Skype, not the ones you wave at awkwardly in Crosslands every now and again. So, FemSoc is friendly, and really welcoming. There were loads of great social events last year - we went out for meals, for drinks, hosted Come Dine With FemSoc (that also turned into an impromptu birthday celebration for me) went to SU club nights together and travelled into London for events, amongst others. There was a huge variation, and that's something we're going to continue doing next year - if you don't like clubbing or you don't drink alcohol, totally not an issue. We try to make sure every event is accessible, both in terms of disability and also atmosphere.

As well as social events, most of our sessions are designed to get our members thinking about Feminism as a whole, and also individual issues and how Feminism looks at them. Last year we talked about politics, diets, body hair, sex, porn, mental health, the representation of BME women in the media, Islam and Feminism amongst plenty more. Some sessions the society invited speakers to visit us and lead them, and others we would set up ourselves and just chat about. We also linked up and put on joint sessions with other societies, including the Islamic Society, the Afro-Caribbean Society, the Debating Society and the LGBT society. Like I said before, we work hard at being intersectional.

As well as discussions / presentation events, the society has also worked on campaigns that directly affect our University and its members. It's proposed and passed many motions at GMs (sorry if I've lost you here. I'll post a crib-sheet on Student's Union language at some point to ensure everyone understands why Twitter goes berserk every few weeks) that support other student women. For example, the society wrote to and offered our support to students at a University which was being targeted and harassed by anti-abortion activists, and did the same to a university finding it difficult to set up their own Feminist Society. On campus, we've worked with Sabbatical Officers and Students Union staff to ensure our SU is a zero tolerance union - put simply, it and its staff have a zero tolerance approach to sexual harassment. Sexual harassment is a huge issue within society, and university campuses don't escape that. We've helped implement an atmosphere that means there are ways of dealing with and reducing the occurrences of these issues, and that students feel comfortable reporting anything.

I plan on writing another post within the next couple of weeks about why I think Feminism is still so important in our world today; there's way too much to include within this. I hope this has been an interesting overview about the society and the kind of things it does - if you have any other questions relating to the society, feel free to send me or any of the committee a message or post in our Facebook group. It would be great to see a lot of new faces in September - I hope this post has sufficiently piqued your interest.

Oodles of feminist love,

Rose Walker

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